Oh, books…how I love you so.
This is true of me. I do love books. I love books from my childhood and books that speak to me and books that describe what I’m feeling better than I can. I love books that startle me and books that make me laugh and books that keep me up all night even though the littles are soon to rise. I even have a deep affection for my own flawed book.
But guess what? Even with a love and knowledge of books that both run deep, it’s hard for me to find books that my kids will love. Sometimes I nail it. Sometimes I strike out. And sometimes, a book that randomly got tossed into our library bag becomes somebody’s favorite book.
So here’s five reads that inspire individuality. May they inspire the little readers in your life!
1. Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems
We are big Mo Willems’ fans at our place, and, surprisingly, most people that I recommend him to…well…they just don’t feel it. But that’s alright. Besides the brilliant Elephant and Piggy books and the rascally Pigeon, this particular book about a naked mole rat who bucks the status quo with his snappy dressing is such a fun read.
And let’s face it- your kids will giggle when you say the word ‘naked’ several times in one story. And just let them.
2. Hilda Must be Dancing by Karma Wilson
You may recognize Karma Wilson from the well-known tales of Bear (Bear Feels Sick, Bear Snores On, etc.) but this book was our introduction to this author. In this picture book, Hilda the hippo expresses herself through a variety of dancing shenanigans, much to the dismay of her jungle friends. In the end, they find a compromise that let’s Hilda be herself and her friends celebrate her individuality. Bonus points for the great outfits that Hilda sports. My four year old loves this one.
3. Heroes Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Heally
I know, I know. You’re tired of fairy tale reboots. But what if those fairy tales went wrong, the Prince Charmings all bumped into each other, and then set off on a quest to restore their good names and save the world? Major bonus points for characterizations and great illustrations. We’ve been reading this book aloud together and oh…the giggles, folks. So. Many. Giggles. And bonus points for the princesses, too. One princess in particular is a REAL PILL (and my girls love her for it…sigh). You’ll have to read it to find out who!
4. Twisted Journeys books
Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? Same idea here. Awesome plots? Nope. Startling narrative? Not really. Beautiful prose? Negative. BUT…. my eight year old boy will read them over and over, choosing and re-choosing his path through the book. He loves that his “fate” is in his own hands. And today I caught him reading one aloud to his younger sister!!!! I’m sold.
5. Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede
My girls want princess stories. What can I say? So over the last few months they’ve been listening to the audio books about Cimorene, a smart and practical princess who tires of royal living and leaves her kingdom to offer herself in service to a dragon. This is, after all, a respectable alternative to palace life. Cimorene not only befriends the dragons, she helps solve problems, makes new friends with other captured princesses, continues her Latin studies, and deals with the problem of those pesky wizards. Light-hearted, practical, a tad silly, and full of well-crafted story telling, the Enchanted Forest series is not your everyday fairy tale. It’s full of stories your kids will listen to over and over. Trust me….I know!
So many books, so little time. Any books out there that your little people are loving?